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Full text of "A history of Persia"

LIU       DISRUPTION OF SELJUK EMPIRE      125
Horses," he instructed Anwari to compose a stanza cal-
culated to annoy his enemy and ordered it to be shot into
the town. The lines—somewhat colourless in a translation
—ran thus :
O King ! all the dominion of the earth is accounted thine ;
By fortune and good luck the world is thine acquisition :
Take Haxar Asp to-day with a single assault,
And to-morrow Khwarazm and a hundred  thousand horses shall
be thine!
The stanza was duly received, and the following reply,
inspired by Watwat, was shot back :
If thine enemy, O King, were Knight Rustam himself,
He could not carry off from thy Hazar Asp a single ass!
Stung by the retort, Sanjar gave orders for Watwat
to be kidnapped, and when some time afterwards he was
caught, directed that he should be cut into seven pieces,
a sentence which does little to support the Sultan's reputa-
tion for magnanimity. However, a courtier said, " O King!
I have a request to prefer ; Watwat ,is a' feeble little bird
and cannot bear to be divided into'seven pieces: order
him, then, to be merely cut in two !" Sanjar laughed
and the poet was pardoned.
The Revival of the Caliphate.—During the heyday of
the Seljuk dynasty the Caliphs were mere puppets, but
Mustarshid, who was Caliph for seventeen years from
A.H. 512 (in8), took advantage of the intestine wars
then raging to aim at independence. He achieved his
object for a while, but on being attacked by Zengi, the
famous adversary of the Crusaders, he was forced to
submit. In the end he was assassinated, as was also his
son and successor Rashid, but under Muktafi the inde-
pendence of the Caliphate became more marked. Nasir,
who succeeded to the Caliphate in A.H. 575 (1180),
opened up relations with Khwaraxm, and instigated
Tekish to attack Toghril, the Seljuk ruler of Irak. The
attack succeeded, Toghril was slain, and his head was
sent to Baghdad. The victor, who handed over some
Persian provinces to the Caliph, was recognized by Nasir
as the supreme ruler of the East. But these friendly